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World Junior Summer Showcase guide to the 2018 NHL Draft

Some of the top prospects for next year’s draft will be in Plymouth, Michigan for the WJC Summer Showcase

Rasmus Dahlin

When the World Junior Summer Showcase opens up this weekend, there are going to be a number of names that are familiar to hockey fans. The majority of the players in attendance have already been drafted by NHL teams - including Colorado Avalanche prospects Cale Makar, Conor Timmins and Tyson Jost. Though it’s often a tournament dominated by 19-year olds, there are going to be a number of draft eligible players at the Summer Showcase.

The summer exhibition tournament consists of teams from Canada, Sweden, Finland and the USA. There are a number of drafted prospects on display at this tournament for just about every fan base, but right now I’m going to take a look at some of the more prominent first time eligible 2018 NHL Entry Draft eligible players - since some Avs fans already have an eye on next July.

Ramus Dahlin - LD - Frolunda (SHL)

Projected to be one of the first two picks in next summer’s draft, Rasmus Dahlin is seen by my as a can’t miss blue chip defender. At 6’2, 181 lbs, Dahlin is a terrific skater and puck handler who can lead the rush and act like a fourth forward at times. He can play in all situations, isn’t afraid to get physical and will likely spend this season trying to put on weight so that he can make the jump straight to the NHL after the draft. He is going to be the biggest attraction for the scouts and Dahlin will look to be a big part of the Swedish team come December.

Isac Lundestrom - F - Lulea HF (SHL)

Seen as a late first, early second round pick at the moment, Lundestrom is likely going to look to impress the Swedish coaching staff enough to be taken to the world juniors as an underaged forward - and he definitely has the talent to do so. He is a very talented offensive player that at the age of 17 has already played 45 games in Sweden’s top professional league. He was probably Sweden’s best forward at last year’s U18 World Championship. He’s got speed, skill, and is definitely a guy that could find himself in the top-15 by the end of the season.

Justus Annunen - G - Karpat (Liiga)

A 17-year old goalie, Annunen is likely going to be battling for the third spot on the Finnish roster. He’s got the projectable (6’4”) size that scouts like in goalies these days. He’s very technically sound, with a quick glove hand and strong legs. A long time member of the Finnish national program, Annunen has represented his country on both the U16 and U17 teams. He put up a very strong .924 sv% in the Finnish Jr-B league last season and will look to establish himself at with the Jr-A team this year.

Jesse Ylonen - RW - Espoo United (Mestis)

The son of former Phoenix Coyote Juha Ylonen, Jesse was born in Scottsdale, Arizona but moved back to Finland as a child. Ylonen is very good with the puck. He’s quick, has great puck handling skills and is able to maintain possession well in order to create scoring chances for both himself and his linemates. He was outstanding at last year’s U18 putting up 9 points in 7 games and he’s a guy that could sneak into the end of the first round with proper development this season.

Quinn Hughes - LD - USDPNT

Hughes is an undersized, but dynamic offensive defenseman. the University of Michigan commit does just about everything well, he’s a great skater, has wonderful hockey instincts and creates chances with the puck on his stick better than most defensemen. The only thing that is stopping him from being a top-5 pick next June is the fact that he’s only 5’9. He’s an outstanding player, and has enough high-end skill to make up for his lack of size when playing against guys his own age - he’ll have to prove that he can do it against bigger and stronger competition. His size hurts him defensively, but his instincts and skating ability help make up for it more often than not.

Brady Tkachuk - C/LW - Boston University (NCAA)

The second son of Keith Tkachuk, Brady has a chance to be selected higher than his brother's 6th overall in next year’s draft. He plays a style of game that can be described as a “less dirty version of Matthew”. He’s big, strong, an excellent playmaker and he’ll spend this season at BU trying to show that he’s worthy of a top-5 pick.

Oliver Wahlstrom - C/RW - USNTDP

Wahlstrom will be one of the younger players in next year’s draft and is going to be fighting an uphill battle to make Team USA for the World Juniors. He is a player that has great ice awareness and uses his speed to generate offense. He is a kid that has been on the radar of scouts from the time he was 9-years old. He’s got all the raw talent in the world and just needs time to harness it. He likely won’t make the team this year but he’ll be drafted in the top-20 next June before becoming a big part of Team USA next year.

The Schedule

Saturday July 29th USA White vs. Finland 1:00pm EDT
Saturday July 29th USA White vs. Finland 1:00pm EDT
USA Blue vs. Sweden 4:00pm EDT
Sunday July 30th USA Blue vs. Finland 1:00pm EDT
USA White vs. Sweden 4:00pm EDT
Tuesday Ausust 1st Canada Red vs. USA White 4:00pm EDT
Canada White vs. USA Blue 7:00pm EDT
Wednesday August 2nd Canada vs. Finland 1:00pm EDT
USA vs. Sweden 4:00pm EDT
Friday August 4th Sweden vs. Canada 1:00pm EDT
Finland vs. USA 4:00pm EDT
Saturday August 5th Sweden vs. Finland 4:00pm EDT
USA vs. Canada 7:00pm EDT